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Another great NOLA trip (pretty long)

Eric R | Dec 17, 200412:27 PM

After a few days rest, I wanted to report on our food packed trip to New Orleans. Started out Thursday the 9th at Acme with half a dozen excellent raw oysters, three fried oyster sushi (fried oysters on sushi rice w/ wasabi, soy sauce & ginger) and a cup of jambalaya. Both oyster dishes were excellent and the jambalaya was good but nothing special. Serves me right for getting it in Acme. Their house-made cocktail sauce was top notch.

We walked up to Rampart and down several blocks to Randazzo’s bakery were we got a free sample (the size of a pie plate) of a ‘shoe sole’. I don’t know if this is a New Orleans thing but it was very good. We planned to return for a slice of Kings cake. We walked over to Johnny’s Po Boys for a roast beef Po Boy. Good and hot, though the meat was more like debris than sliced. Not sure if this is how Johnny’s does it or because we were there towards closing. Then it was Café Du Monde for what I think are the best beignets. A poster below called them greasy blobs, but ours were not greasy and I always love them.

Thursday night was dinner at K-Paul’s. I’ve read many mixed posts, but dinner was very good and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend K-Paul’s. We started with the fried green tomato/shrimp remoulade app and the chicken and andouille gumbo. The tomatoes were soft and hot and we loved them, and the shrimp was also quite good. The gumbo was exceptional, some of the best I’ve ever had. Spicy but not too hot and full of chicken and sausage. We split an entrée of very good salmon (medium instead of medium rare) with a garlic and pecan sauce. In the breadbasket were dinner rolls, jalepeno rolls (excellent) and molasses rolls (like a dessert). We finished with the coconut cake and the cake was everything it was hyped to be. Fantastic flavor but not grossly sweet and very moist too. It was worth the many phone calls to ensure it would be there (though they never could guarantee it would be there).

Friday morning was likely the highlight when we went to Uglesich’s for the first time ever. We got there at 10:15 and there was already one couple inside waiting. By 10:30, there were only three inside tables left and all were taken by 10:50. Mr. Anthony himself took our order and we couldn’t have been more pleased with his advice. We started with fried green tomatoes/shrimp remoulade, super slaw and onion rings. The tomatoes were more firm than at K-Paul’s but were good, as was the shrimp. The onion rings were okay but I doubt I’d get them again. The slaw was indeed super! Nicely spiced and with a shrimp on top. I cannot recommend the slaw more highly. We then got the bbq shrimp/oyster combo and it was as good as I thought it would be. With extra bread for sopping the sauce, it must have been 7,000 calories but who cares. The very good and spicy $2.00!!! bloody mary along with the banter of John and Anthony made this one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The line was out the door when we left at 11:15.

After winning around thirty nine cents at the Fairgrounds Track, we went to Casamento’s Friday night for a rather disappointing meal. The waitress was surly and inattentive (I don’t ever remember reading that this was their way at Casamento’s) and it was only 7:45 when we were there and not very busy. We started with raw oysters, which were fantastic, and then had a very good fried soft-shell. We got a combo oyster/shrimp loaf that was just plain blah. The bread was kind of soggy and the oysters were kind of small. I’d have been more inclined to go back had the service not been so pathetic. Perhaps it was just an off night for them.

Saturday morning was a tuna salad Po Boy and two of the fluffiest pancakes ever at Mike Serio’s. The tuna was good and not too creamy but the bread (that I cannot get in Wash, D.C.) makes anything better. The pancakes were light and fluffy and I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. I ignored the misery I’ve read in the past about the Serios as it was convenient to go there. Loved the rampant LSU tiger near the door. It was then off to Mardi Gras World (great free ferry ride to Algiers Point) and I again was surprised at how interesting the tour was. I thought it would be cheesy but it was very, very good and we got a free piece of okay Kings cake, and saw Blaine Kern himself.

After MGW we took the trolley uptown for Po Boys at Domilise’s. It’s dirty, it’s dank, it’s hard to get to and they were two of the best sandwiches we ever had. The roast beef was sliced, with a mustard type sauce (I think) and was excellent. The fried oyster Po Boy was fresh and hot and had a ‘hot sauce’ based sauce on it. Both were even better than the ones at Parkway, and I love Parkway. We saved a little room and walked back to St Charles to take the streetcar to Foodie’s Kitchen for some Commander’s Palace turtle soup. It was not busy at all in Foodie’s and they said they cut way back on the types of breads the bake each day as they were throwing away a lot of bread. The soup was very tasty, though it’s probably better in the restaurant were you can likely add sherry. It seems Foodie's Kitchen is on borrowed time.

Saturday night we had a great meal at Mandina’s. Had their signature Old Fashioned cocktail and enjoyed it immensely. We had both the gumbo and the turtle soup (with a generous splash of sherry) and liked them both very much. We then had the stuffed trout and the veal parmigiana. The trout was good but the stuffing was a bit bready, though it had good flavor. As Solozzo said in ‘The Godfather’: “try the veal, it’s the best in the city.” Mandina’s may not be the best in the city, but it was an excellent piece of veal, not too thin or too thick, and the tomato sauce was very good as it was very simple. We finished with the bread pudding that was so good it should be a crime. Rum and raisins and it was hard to leave some behind as we knew we were walking around the corner to Brocato’s. We had a mini-cannoli and the crème brule gelato at Brocato's and both were fantastic. We walked ten blocks or so down Canal before catching the streetcar to try and justify our gluttony.

Sunday was a very good breakfast at Camelia Grill. The chef’s special omelet (chili on the side), Camelia burger and of course grilled pecan pie for dessert. Only a fifteen minute wait to get in (around 11:30) and then another ten minutes on the benches inside. Marvin, who I remember from last June, was a treat as always. We walked off Camelia at the aquarium and then rested some before Sunday night at Galatoire’s.

We arrived around 7:45 and the host asked us if we had reservations. We said no and she asked if we had a specific waiter and all I knew was John. He was out so we went to a pretty good table on the side and Shelly was our waiter. I liked the Sazerac less than the Old Fashioned, probably for the brand of red bitters in the Sazerac. We got bread (bread at Galatoire’s seems to be like water at Chinese restaurants) and started off with the goute appetizer. The shrimp remoulade was excellent, and while we liked the shrimp and crabmeat Maison, it wasn’t exactly our cup of tea. I had read about the oysters brochette and asked Shelly about it and he said he didn’t want our goute to be “over the top”. He was pleased we thought of it and brought an order and there was a bacony oyster party in my mouth. While I’m glad we tried the Maison, next time it will be remoulade and brochette. We had the grilled Pompano Menurie with the crab and shrimp topping and, on Shelly’s recommendation, the fried soft-shell instead of the sauteed. Both were top notch entrees and could not be finished. I forgot about the potato souffle and we had the potatoes Brabant which were okay but nothing special. I wish we had tried the souffle. For dessert we had the banana bread pudding and if possible, it was better than the version at Mandina’s (though different). An excellent meal and a great experience. Shelly gave me his card to ask for him when we returned.

Monday we bagged Mena’s Palace for a return trip to Uglesich’s. This time it was not as crowded though there were four tables filled prior to 10:30. John waited on us as Mr. Anthony seemed tired, and he was sitting at a table making crab cakes. John said they didn’t get out until after seven the previous Friday and that they hadn’t had a day like that in a long time. We again had the super slaw and added the fried oysters with blue cheese appetizer, both terrific. We also had a cup of jambalaya that was okay. We split the Shrimp Uggie and it was as good as the bbq shrimp/oyster combo. Two fantastic meals at Uglesich’s and well worth going back the second time, especially as it’s unlikely we’ll be back before the close in April/May.

We took the streetcar back to Canal and then walked down Rampart, on our way to a tour of the New Orleans rum distillery, to Randazzo’s for a $2.25 huge slice of Kings cake. The cake was sweet, moist and very good. We could barely eat half of it. The rum tour was a treat and if you have any interest in rum; or beer or wine making it would be worth your while to make the tour. We cabbed it back to Royal and Esplanade and walked to Jackson Square to split a Lucky Dog. I know, I know, but it’s a tradition, and sadly, I’ve had worse. We walked around a bit more and finished up at Acme with some average gumbo (2nd time I made that non-oyster mistake) and a peacemaker that was just okay. Probably due to overload.

We’re already looking to return again and have Dick and Jenny’s and Le Crepe Nanou high on our list.




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